In which I venture to see the knitted poppies of Walshamย 

By chance, I saw via Facebook that the village of Walsham le Willows has decorated its beautiful church with hundreds of knitted and crocheted poppies for Remembrance Day. So, the Little One and I headed out for an adventure last week to take a look. 

Sadly the outside of the church was in shadow so my picture of the gorgeous drape of poppies along the tower is not good at all, but you can see really lovely pictures online:
There are over 5000 poppies in all. Inside the porch there is a display, too, featuring a page on each lost soldier from the village, with lots of old photos. It’s very moving, not just the losses themselves, but the lengths people have gone to to commemorate their relatives.


The church itself is large and light, with a beautiful hammer beam roof:

The churchyard was bathed in gorgeous Autumn sunlight:

It is definitely worth a trip to see the poppies here. The village centre is beautiful, too, with a cafe (next time!) and a butcher with a deli. There’s a week left to see them, I think, so do go!


Sometimes, I get time to knit …

… but not often! Not as often as I’d like. I used to knit every afternoon while my daughter slept. Of course, this meant that jobs around the house didn’t get done quite as often, perhaps, but I loved the time to myself, with the TV on and her snuffling away. Lots of knitting got done! But now, she doesn’t sleep in the afternoons, so we are busy – doing fun things, of course, like kicking leaves and picking blackberries – but I am missing my knitting. When on earth do people get time to knit?? This is my current project:

This is a fantastic shawl from Pom Pom Quarterly Spring 2014, the Brolly shawl by Maria Olsen. It’s knitted in 4-ply yarn in garter stitch with stripes and increasing every row in the main body of the shawl, then there will be a border to work (from a chart!! Eek!) once the garter stitch is done. The yarn is just lovely – firm and neat, from West Yorkshire Spinners, bought at the fantastic Jenny Wren’s Yarns in Ipswich.  This project is a fantastic mix of easy TV knitting plus delicious wool. And, as it doesn’t have to be a very specific size, I won’t even have that dreaded moment of disappoint about the fit. It’s easy enough to do in the evenings as well as at knit group or even on the train.  So my knitting mojo is back! 

Where did the summer go?

September already. We had a fantastic summer, and I hope you did too. We went to the north Norfolk coast where we had bucket and spade weather every day. This was great for us all, especially the Little One, who went to sleep sandy and exhausted every night ๐Ÿ™‚ Exciting news for grown ups: the fabulous Grey Seal Coffee company, who have a gorgeous tiny cafe in Blakeney, have opened one in Sheringham! Of course, it’s easy to mock a person’s First World need for a good coffee, but for me it means privacy, solitude and a little treat. It’s time I use for reading and writing, so hugely valuable and I’m very careful and protective of it. So, the minute I had that precious commodity of Me-Time, I headed there and tried their cakes (hand made on their Glandford site) and their flat white:

Both absolutely gorgeous ๐Ÿ™‚ Hurrah! Now Sheringham is even better: sea, sand, TWO wool shops and now decent coffee. We can’t wait to go back. 

Occasionally, I even get time to read…

Apparently, the author of this short novel, Susan Hill, has recently begun a relationship with another woman, having been married. The subject matter of From The Heart, then, might in some way be pressing for her as a result of her own circumstances. It tells the story of Olive, a young girl in the 1950s (I think), who experiences a kind of awakening in a repressive, intolerant era. Many things happen in a few years for Olive, but she is well drawn and likeable, and the ending is particularly good! Oddly, though, for a novel about awakening sexuality, there is very little actual sex, as though the repression of the era has somehow exerted itself upon Hill’s writing. In fact, she is rather coy about sex altogether, and this surprised me, as the rest of her writing is so acutely observant and true to life. The book itself is rather lovely – a neat, small hardback with a cover rather like the gorgeous Persephone Press novels, based on a 1950s fabric print by designer Ruth Adler Schnee. If you enjoyed Patricia Highsmith’s Carol, then this is broadly similar, though quieter, I feel. 

Any excuse for a new notebook…

As my gardening post made clear, there’s nothing like a new notebook! And this will be an interesting one. A psychologist friend was extolling the benefits of a gratitude journal to me the other day: though it sounds a bit new-aged, the friend is a sarky cynic like me, so I tend to take her ideas seriously and thought I’d give this a go. You can read about a journalist’s exploration of the gratitude journal phenomenon here:

The idea is that, at the end of each day, you simply write down three things that you’re thankful for. I’m not promising to do this every day, or to blog about it much, even (other people’s gratitude sounds so smug! The world is in political turmoil!), but I am interested to see if I experience greater contentment and better sleep (both are promised by gratitude advocates). So, we shall see ๐Ÿ™‚ 

To start me off, I am grateful for this simple, lovely near view:

2: I had a lovely coffee with a friend yesterday. We don’t meet often, but we have lots of interests in common and I always feel cheery and invigorated when I’ve seen her. Her blog is here:

3: the sun is out! 

Norfolk: sun, sand and strawberries

This was taken a week ago, on a weekend trip to the North Norfolk coast. The view in the distance is of Castle Acre, near Swaffham. The castle is now a ring of stone walls on a small hill, but the priory (an English Heritage site) is fantastic: visitors can go upstairs and look over the fields and to the castle, enjoying a view that can’t have changed much over hundreds of years. 

On the way to the coast, I stopped at the Sharrington strawberry stall (on the road from Fakenham to Holt; the A148). I have bought these local strawberries before at other shops, but never stopped at the stall. My arms full of strawberries and the toddler, I didn’t get to take a picture, but the strawberries were FANTASTIC. Oh, and we bought some jam, too, and there were lots of vegetables for sale too, which I didn’t expect as you can’t see them from the road!

Best of all, Cromer beach looked like this:

We had a great break, just doing the old-school things: eating strawberries and ice-cream, digging in the sand and looking for crabs. It seems strange to be writing about this, given the events we’ve had in Manchester and London, but it is perhaps good to remember that life involves these things, still, too. 

There’s nothing like new stationery…

This is what happens after too many trawls of Pinterest: gardening becomes a delicious set of purchases of books, notebooks and pens, rather than an actual trip into the garden. Still, our roses have thrived on neglect; my partner was given these tea glasses used as vases at a wedding this weekend so they’re perfect for our flowers:

And we have been cooking! These Danish pastries tasted fab and were very, very easy to make from a recipe in the Tesco magazine, which you can find here:

But just in case this is in danger of becoming one of those smug country life posts, I have also dealt with a huge hornet, two whopping sp*ders and two dead, mangled baby rabbits this week! Unsurprisingly, no pictures of those! Hope everyone’s enjoying their Bank Holiday weekend xx

Practically a small-holding :)

Yesterday evening, I was just looking at my solitary courgette plant and wondering what has happened to it (frost; wilt; slugs), when our lovely neighbour came round. She brought us eggs from her hens and this super basket of loveliness:

She knows I have been wrestling with the abandoned veg patch, and can probably see me trying to dig in flip flops of an evening, as slowly but surely the weeds are coming out! And this basket is a great incentive: gorgeous herbs (including Garlic chives – who knew there are garlic chives!?) and strawberry plants. Now, just a bit more clearing to be done….

Let’s hope I have green fingers…

Well, in the corner of our garden, we have an old, neglected vegetable patch. Of course, I imagine myself turning into Hugh F-W, making amazing food from my own produce, so I started to clear the patch. It looks like this:

I think that’s an ancient raspberry cane, so I am trying to nurture that. I’m sure we’ll be feasting on fresh, sun warmed raspberries all summer ๐Ÿ˜‰ There’s also a plant which I think is chard – does anyone else know? I don’t want any upsetting mistakes!

Weeding was very satisfying.  I took a leaf (ahem) out of Alys Fowler’s book and just settled to it, and the end result was great. I only managed about two square feet of bare soil while the Little One was at nursery, but it was worth it. Alys’ advice is here:

Our local WI had a plant sale at which I picked up some strawberry plants, a courgette and some herbs, so we are well on our way!

Yes, it’s about time…

Phew – I’ve got my blogging mojo back. Somehow my old Blogger template had grown to feel really tired and old, and I was looking in envy at pretty much everyone else’s blog! So I’ve managed to move my blog here to WordPress and already it looks fresher, so I’m pleased!

We have also moved to the country while my blog has been on pause. Expect more pictures of open fields and huge skies! Part of our new garden looks like this:

But part looks like this, which is, I think, a raspberry cane in a sea of weeds:

Clearly, I need to work out how to resize photos, but that’s a job for another day. I’m looking forward to many more post, and if you’ve read this, thank you,